Man set to appear in courtin fatal Portland attack

A 20-year-old Gray man is expected to make his first court appearance today to face an aggravated assault charge, in connection with an early morning attack on Sunday that left another man dead.

William Googins is being held on $50,000 cash bail at the Cumberland County Jail. Police say Googins and two friends were in Monument Square around 1:30 a.m. when 24-year-old Eric Benson and a female friend walked through the square.

The men directed some derogatory comments at the woman, which made her feel threatened, police said, and after a brief exchange between the two parties, Googins punched Benson.

No weapon was used, but police say the single punch knocked Benson unconscious and he fell on the brick plaza. He was pronounced dead around noon Sunday at Maine Medical Center.

Benson was a Westbrook High School graduate who was studying geochemistry at the University of Maine at Farmington, with plans eventually to hunt for oil. He would have graduated in December.

A service for Benson is planned for Saturday in Westbrook at the Parish of St. Anthony of Padua. Viewing will be at 10 a.m., with a funeral Mass to follow at noon.

Man held in Gray shooting to make court appearance

The man charged with an attempted murder Sunday night in Gray is scheduled to make his first appearance in court today.

Police said Jon Brown, 52, beat, tied up and shot Harold Small around 11:20 p.m. Sunday at Small’s home.

Brown was taken into custody about 7 p.m. Monday at a rental cabin along Roosevelt Trail in Windham. He was captured by the Maine State Police Tactical Team, which surrounded the cabin. Brown is being held without bail at the Cumberland County Jail.

Despite a gunshot wound to the eye, Small was able to free himself, call police and identify Brown as the perpetrator, authorities said.

He underwent emergency surgery Monday at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston. The hospital could not confirm that Small was a patient, and his condition was not available Tuesday afternoon.

Brown faces charges of attempted murder, elevated aggravated assault and robbery. His criminal record includes a prior conviction for attempted murder in Portland in 1982.

Increased school budget getspreliminary OK from council

The Town Council on Monday gave preliminary approval to a revised school budget that includes $100,000 more for spending.
Voters rejected a proposed $34.9 million school budget 493-483 at a validation referendum earlier this month.

The Board of Education subsequently revamped the budget by adding $100,000 from a teacher accrual account, deferring for the time being decisions on how the additional money will be spent. The school board also decided to ask the Town Council to use $100,000 to $200,000 in reserves to lower the property tax rate.

The Town Council approved the amended budget with the additional $100,000 in spending but declined to use the reserve funds as requested, said Council Vice Chairwoman Judith Roy.

Roy said she didn’t want to use too much from the town’s reserves because of the potential negative effect on the town’s bond rating and concerns about needing the money in the future.

“It’s kind of risky if we use it all up this year. Where do we go next year?” she said.

The school budget goes to the Town Council again June 2 for a public hearing and final approval. A second budget validation vote will be held June 8.

Apartment’s ceiling caves in,leaves 3 with minor injuries

Three people had to be hospitalized after the ceiling in their apartment collapsed Tuesday.

The Brunswick Fire Department said a woman and two men were inside their apartment at 75 Pleasant St. when the ceiling fell on top of them.

Firefighter Joshua Shean said all three people were taken to Parkview Hospital, where they were treated for minor injuries.

Shean said investigators suspect the age of the building and its old plaster ceiling may have caused the accident.

Downtown group to offer preview of visitor center

The Brunswick Downtown Association will offer a sneak preview of the new Brunswick Visitor Center after the town’s Memorial Day parade Monday.

Greg Farr, executive director of the Brunswick Downtown Association, said fliers will be placed throughout downtown, inviting the public to come see the new visitor center, located on Station Avenue.

The Brunswick Visitor Center is about 90 percent completed.

The building is on the new railroad line and houses two restaurants – Scarlet Begonias and Byrne’s Irish Pub – as well as Park Row Interiors, the Bowdoin College dance studio and the Town Council chambers.

Farr said 40 greeters have been trained to staff the new visitor center, which will serve not only Amtrak passengers, but also visitors to Brunswick’s downtown.

Amtrak service from Portland is expected by 2012. The rail station is currently used by Maine Eastern Railroad.

Former real estate broker to serve 10 months for fraud

A former commercial real estate broker has been sentenced to 10 months in prison for raising money from investors for a nonexistent real estate development.

The Maine Securities Administration said Daniel Coyne of Yarmouth pleaded guilty Tuesday to theft-by-deception charges.

Coyne was given a four-year suspended sentence with 285 days to serve and one year of probation.

Authorities say Coyne solicited $50,000 from an investor, saying it would be combined with his own money to complete the development.

But officials say Coyne knew there was no development and never intended to put in his own money.

As part of sentence, Coyne also must undergo drug and alcohol treatment and pay back $50,000 to the victim.

Ex-sheriff admits displaying his weapon during dispute

A former Washington County sheriff faces a deferred sentence after pleading guilty to a charge of displaying a weapon during a dispute with a family of two adults and two children.

John Tibbetts, also a retired state trooper, pleaded guilty Monday to the misdemeanor charge.

Tibbetts’ attorney has said Tibbetts was protecting blueberry land and $100,000 worth of farming equipment in Washington County last Aug. 13 when the couple’s car appeared.

The family members said Tibbetts threatened to shoot them.

The 63-year-old Tibbetts told police he did have a weapon but did not raise it.

Tibbetts must perform 120 hours of community service, according to the Bangor Daily News.

School to reopen today after threat forces evacuation

A bomb threat at the Middle School of the Kennebunks forced officials to evacuate the building Tuesday morning.

Andrew Dolloff, superintendent of Regional School Unit 21, e-mailed a notice to parents about the situation Tuesday afternoon.

Dolloff said writing found on a wall in one of the girls’ bathrooms caused an immediate evacuation. All students were moved to Kennebunk High School while a pair of state police dogs searched the building, Dolloff said. No bombs were found.

The school remained closed for the day, but it will reopen today.

“I assure you that we will continue to respond to threats such as this with a sense of seriousness. Although we will evacuate the building, we will not dismiss students for the remainder of the day as I believe that sends the wrong message,” Dolloff wrote in his notification to parents.

Former owners of racetracks join effort to build casino

The company that wants to build a casino in western Maine says the former owners of the New Hampshire International Speedway and the Oxford Plains Speedway in Maine have become investors in the company.

Mainers will vote on a referendum in November asking whether Black Bear Entertainment should be allowed to build a casino in Oxford County.

Black Bear Entertainment announced Tuesday that Bob Bahre and his son, Gary, who formerly owned the New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon and the Oxford Plains Speedway in Oxford have become investors.

Bob Bahre said a casino and resort will benefit the entire state, build upon Maine’s tourism industry and help the economy.

Blaine House candidate airing radio ad in French

Rosa Scarcelli is airing a 60-second radio ad in French in an effort to reach Maine’s Franco-American voters. It’s being broadcast every Sunday on “La Revue Francais,” a program on WEZR in Lewiston.

Narrated in French, the ad highlights the Portland Democrat’s agenda of growing jobs and making state government more efficient.

Scarcelli said she made the ad to “speak directly to Franco voters.”

Nearly 23 percent of Mainers indicated their ethnic origin as either French or French Canadian in the 2000 census.

Boy escapes as fire destroys North Raymond Road home

A fire started by a fish aquarium’s electrical cord destroyed a North Raymond Road home Tuesday afternoon.

Acting Fire Chief Galen Morrison said an 11-year-old boy was watching television when he noticed that a fire had started near the aquarium.

The boy, whose parents were at work, grabbed a telephone and ran outside the single-story home, where he called 911.

Firefighters arrived around 3 p.m. and were able to extinguish the fire within a matter of minutes. A dog that was trapped inside the house was rescued by firefighters.

According to Morrison, the home, which sustained extensive fire and smoke damage, is uninhabitable.

“I said, ‘Congratulations son, you did everything right,’ ” Morrison said.

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